1. At its 44th Session on July 22, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee adopted by consensus a decision expressing strong regret on the non-fulfilment of the follow-up to the inscription of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution on the World Heritage list and requesting its full implementation.
° This Session is being held virtually from July 16 to 31 with the participation of about 1,300 people, including representatives from the 21 members of the World Heritage Committee.
° The Korean delegation, led by Ambassador to UNESCO Kim Dong-gi and consisting of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cultural Heritage Administration, and experts from the private sector, is participating in the meeting as an observer.
2. The decision adopted at this meeting is the same as the draft decision posted on the World Heritage Centre website on July 12, main contents of which are as follows:
° The World Heritage Committee
- Strongly regrets that the State Party has not yet fully implemented the relevant decisions;
- Requests the State Party to fully take into account, in the implementation of the relevant decisions, the conclusions of the mission report, which include the following topics:
1) Interpretive strategy to understand the full history of each site,
2) Measures to understand that Koreans and others were forced to work,
3) Measures to remember the victims,
4) Best international practices,
5) Dialogue between the concerned parties;
- Requests the State Party to submit by 1 December 2022 an updated state of conservation report for examination by the Committee at its 46th session in 2023.
3. This decision holds significance in that the international community explicitly confirmed that Japan has not yet implemented the Committee’s recommendations and its own commitments made at the time of inscription in 2015, and strongly urged its full implementation.
° The Committee requested Japan to fully implement the relevant recommendations and undertakings more tangibly and precisely based on the objective findings of the UNESCO/ICOMOS mission to the Industrial Heritage Information Centre in Tokyo.
° In particular, the promises made by the Japanese representative are stipulated in the body of the decision for the first time.
※ The promises made by the Japanese representative were referred to in the footnotes of the decisions adopted in 2015 and 2018.
4. The Korean government, in close cooperation with the related authorities, will be watching concrete measures to be taken by Japan, such as improvements in the Tokyo Information Centre, and will continue to urge Japan to fully implement the Committee decision at an early date.